ED: Welcome to Linda Boroff! She’s also written in McSweeney’s, Gawker, The Guardian and many other publications.
The Annual Death of Frosty the Snowman
Watching Frosty, that merry soul, waste away under the sun’s relentless onslaught was one of winter’s most dreaded ordeals. Grief-stricken and impotent as the temperature inexorably crept toward death-spring, we always hoped just this once that Frosty could dodge the solar bullet. Or we could at least make his shrinking life meaningful.
As long as Frosty was still “alive as he could be,” we hid the truth, and we tried using transplants to shore up his dwindling thorax and buttocks, but the writing was on the wall. Frosty even seemed to know and accept that his fate was sealed. When he realized one day that his hat would no longer fit, he told us that he only wanted to have some fun before he had to “hurry on his way.”
Picture in your mind what the cartoons mercifully conceal: Frosty’s eyes go missing, leaving him blind. His corncob pipe chewed by dogs. One horrible morning, that whole cheery hydrocephalic head would have shrunk to a mere lump, and his nose slid down his face and fallen off like a leper’s. “I’ll be back again someday” Frosty consoled us bravely, but we knew he wouldn’t. The essence of Frosty would vanish, and whatever came back next year would be an imposter, maybe an evil one. It might look like Frosty and have the same features, but it would be a lie. The water that made the snow that made Frosty had sunk into the wormy, bacterial soil, or been sucked up by the sun and spat down on a grimy street in some nameless city. Frosty is doomed to waste away with Snowpeople’s Disease, and in the place where he once frolicked will remain only dead, flattened earth.
He never got over the trauma of his birthmark. From fawnhood, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer seethed in isolation, self-goring and nursing suffering-hero fantasies, while all of the other reindeer laughed and called him rummie and alkie and ostracized him from their reindeer games. He tried to cover his nose with the coal that Santa stocked to give to bad children, but it just blew off in the first winter gale. He tried for a black tattoo, but Frau Claus said that blacknose was phony appropriation, a betrayal of his true self—and what if he got a flesh-eating virus from it? Santa even had the elves make Rudolph a special harness that hid his nose, but it glowed through anyway. Finally Frau Claus said—in his hearing—“let Rudolph learn to act like a buck for once instead of wallowing in self-pity!”
But when Rudolph finally dared a kick, he was dragged out of sleighing school in hoofcuffs. So by the time that ice fog set in and Santa issued his smarmy, disingenuous plea, “Rudolph with your nose so bright, won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?” Rudolph was a ticking time bomb. Oh, so now all the reindeer loved him, did they? Did they know what they had done to him? Yes, Rudolph would go down in history, all right. They never imagined that Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reject had already decided to guide that sleigh right into the side of a building or maybe straight down onto the freeway, to expose all the lies and hypocrisy and bullying. And to finally watch with fading vision as his snotty foul-weather friends smashed into the asphalt after him in an orgy of death, and lay there under the sleigh with their legs and antlers shattered and Santa dead in a pool of blood.
And all those gifts wrecked and torn open and whose fault was that? Not Rudolph’s. Maybe he would even live long enough to see those evil little reinsnots get slung onto the hood of a truck and carved up for reindeer jerky or stewmeat. Let the whole rotten thing come down and the kids find out the truth. Fuck Christmas.
The Chipmunks: Goodness Couldn’t Last
The crackup really started when Alvin’s voice changed, and he had to sing baritone. Despite his contract, Alvin was unceremoniously kicked off the trio, even though that animal exploiter David could have used a baritone in the Chipmunk Song if he’d given half a damn. So Alvin got his own lawyer and tried to claim a fair share of the residuals, but David prevailed, calling Alvin a chronic troublemaker and saboteur. So Alvin’s case was thrown out. As if that weren’t enough, when Alvin again got what he termed “that fucking toy that loops the loop” instead of the Razor he had asked for, he became despondent.
A phone was out of the question after he got busted hanging out with the black squirrels, cheek-pouching weed and watching videos of mating season. One night, when Christmas was, as usual, not hurrying fast, Alvin talked Simon and Theodore into chewing some weed too, and they got the munchies and ate up all the nuts they had stored for winter and even threw them at people. When Alvin started shouting “Let’s do it again,” was when David lost it and shoved him out the door. He insisted he didn’t mean Alvin any harm, but Alvin had always provoked him, and he “just didn’t want to deal anymore.”
Sometime during the night, there was a lot of squeaking out in the backyard, and Alvin was seen being chased by an unidentified cat wearing a red Christmas dress. He never again appeared in public, despite heartfelt pleas from children everywhere. When David replaced him with a female chipmunk named Chloe, Simon and Theodore got into a vicious fight over her and ended up as framed pelts under their gold record. Heartbroken, Chloe became an activist, dedicated to changing the way rodents are either stereotyped as cute anthropomorphized little fakes or exterminated as vermin.